Social Media

Narcissism Drives the Desire for Fame


Cognitive psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, writing for Scientific American, highlighted interesting research around the motivations for fame, and the driving force of narcissism.

The first study was by John Maltby, who looked at what motivates 10-12 year olds desire for fame:

  • Intensity (e.g., “Very little matters to me apart from being famous”)
  • Vulnerability (e.g., “I want to be famous because it would help me overcome issues I have about myself”)
  • Celebrity Life-Style (e.g., “I want to be rich”)
  • Drive (e.g., “I work hard everyday to be famous”)
  • Perceived Suitability (e.g., “I have got what it takes to be famous”)
  • Altruistic (e.g., “I want to be famous so I can make a contribution to society”)

What is LinkedIn good for?

I've often been publicly critical of LinkedIn, in earlier days referring to it as "Facebook for old people", and now that old people are on Facebook I tend to discourage use of LinkedIn as being a waste of time. I would couch these really critical remarks by saying "unless of course you work in Human Resources or are looking for a job." Turns out, in the case of the latter, LinkedIn may not be so great for finding a job.

Ann Friedman, writing in the Baffler, articulates a number of spot-on insights that speak to the many problems people have with LinkedIn:

In reality, though, the job seeker tends to experience the insular world of LinkedIn connectivity as an irksome ritual of digital badgering. Instead of facing the prospect of interfacing professionally with a nine-figure user base with a renewed spring in their step, harried victims of economic redundancy are more likely to greet their latest LinkedIn updates with a muttered variation of, “Oh shit, I’d better send out some more résumés.”

The Future of Authority: Hacking Reality

I was invited to give a TEDx talk at Western University and I decided to present some of the knowledge that has emerged via the Hacking Reality program at the Academy of the Impossible. Explicitly I focused on how the internet impacts our relationship with authority, and as a result our relationship with reality. The opportunity therefore is to hack reality, and demand the impossible.

If you find it entertaining please share widely.

Why So Serious? A Panel Discussion on Serious Games


I moderated a panel organized by IGDA Toronto and held at OCAD University on the political potential of video games. Here's the write-up and video:

Contrary to popular opinion - in the wake of recent violence in the US - not all games are about mindless, gun-based mayhem. Many games are being developed today that tackle broader, more meaningful issues: everything from environmental activism to food accessibility.

Join IGDA Toronto and a panel of industry experts for an evening dedicated to serious games: namely, games designed for a purpose other than just entertainment.

Moderator: Jesse Hirsh, CBC technology columnist.

Fear and Loathing at the Black Berry 10 Livestream


My friend Daniel Joseph is a gonzo social media satirist. He loves to play with language, meaning, and context on various social media platforms, Twitter in particular. While I often discourage people from being too verbose and sharing the minutiae of their day, Daniel actually pulls it off. He's one of the only people I know who can turn the mundane into a kind of entertainment that within the context of 140 character updates is smart and fun.

For example Daniel often tries to add misinformation to an active twitter feed or event. In particular he wrote a rather funny and fictional play by play of BlackBerry's recent launch of their new operating system BB10:

Tweets Plus Gifs Equals Vine


Twitter has recently introduced a new video feature to their service called Vine. With a limit of six seconds or less, it emulates the brevity of a tweet, and has the looping characteristics of a gif. The hope is similar to the way a 140 character limit has in some cases evoked a new poetic rhythm to the internet, perhaps six seconds of video will add a profound vision into our various lives.

Through the Eyes of Youth

Today I had a fantastic time at Humber College in North West Toronto. I was invited to give a talk as part of their President's Lecture Series.

The topic was supposed to be social media and privacy. While this is certainly what I spoke to, I didn't want to address the topic as if we are victims. I wanted it to be empowering, so I used my current frame of "Getting Paid in the Knowledge Economy".

Rather than expose yourself by blindly sharing personal information, construct a persona that you deliberately put out into the world.

We talked about the value of personal information, and how to protect one's privacy.

4 Lesser Known Social Media Platforms for Professionals

I teach a course at the Academy of the Impossible called Getting Paid in the Knowledge Economy, and one of the primary topics is connecting our use of social media to our pursuit of professional success. With that in mind, here are four lesser known social media platforms that can help in this regard.

Fellow Academy faculty member Steph Guthrie brought this resume-replacement site to my attention. While many recognize LinkedIn as a dynamic resume, it is nowhere near as visually appealing as LinkedIn also tries to pressure any viewer of your resume to join, whereas focuses on you, showcasing what you've done, and emphasizing what you wish to emphasize when it comes to your knowledge and experience. I haven't had time to setup my own profile but I'm pretty sure I will soon.

Is Facebook Charging Money To Send Messages to Strangers?

There were a flurry of news reports recently that highlighted a potential new source of revenue for Facebook, charging $100 to send a message to a (high-profile?) stranger. I use the word stranger as it would apply to people who are not in your social network, which suggests not a friend of a friend, but someone beyond your social graph.

Obviously this would be a fairly substantial move, especially if they could make it work. Just getting away with the notion that you have to pay postage on an email is revolutionary in and of itself. The idea that we would have to pay for email has often been brought up in anti-spam debates.

The problem however is that this flies in the face of the culture of free that the web, and especially social media, is built upon.

The Keith Davey Forum on Public Affairs: Is Social Media Good for Democracy?

The 2012 Keith Davey Forum on Public Affairs, moderated by Steve Paikin and featuring Lee Rainie and myself, was held on October 17th 2012 at the Isabel Bader Theatre at Victory University at the University of Toronto.

We addressed the question, Is Social Media Good for Democracy? Neither of us answered a complete yes or no, but instead offered nuanced answers that encourage both cautious optimism and chilling alarm.

The discussion overall was far reaching, and fascinating. In particular it was a treat to spend time with Lee Rainie who is the Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, a non-profit, non–partisan “fact tank” that studies the social impact of the internet. Lee is also a co-author – with a close friend of mine and University of Toronto sociologist Barry Wellman – of Networked: The new social operating system, which was released in 2012.